Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed some quality time with family and friends over the holidays. There’s always such a frenzy leading up to the holidays, and then some nice quiet time, which is what I look forward to the most. I had the chance to get away with my family to some warmer weather, and relax. I watched Food Network into the wee hours of the night, caught up on reading through some of my favorite food magazines, and read a few books I’ve been wanting to get to. Our family also enjoyed lots and lots of relaxing meals together, one of my favorite things to do.
One of my healthy living goals in 2012 is to introduce a wider variety of whole grains to my kids. Quinoa is one of them. Although I’ve made quinoa salads, warm quinoa for breakfast, and soup with quinoa, I had yet to serve a warm quinoa dish like this Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf. I’d seen Karina’s (Gluten-Free Goddess) Rice Cooker Quinoa recipe a while back, and it had been on my mind to try for a while. I usually cook quinoa on the stove, but wanted to try making it in a rice cooker to see how it turned out.
Several weeks ago, I bumped into a mom who said she tried making quinoa for her son one night. Unfortunately he didn’t like it. After we talked further, I realized she hadn’t rinsed the quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating called saporin, which must be rinsed off before cooking. I suggested cooking quinoa like a rice pilaf, although I’d actually never tried it myself. So, that was extra incentive for me to make it for my kids one night.
I was super pleased with this Rice Cooker Quinoa Pilaf with Mushrooms. It came out very fluffy and light, almost like couscous. In fact, when I serve it with my Slow Cooker Lentil Chili the other night (recipe to come), one of my sons thought it was couscous.
I developed this recipe for the Williams-Sonoma blog, The Blender, to start the New Year off with a healthy way to prepare whole grains. Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain, but it is sometimes referred to as an ancient grain as it was once considered to be the “gold of the Incas.” Quinoa is a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, folate, and fiber.
Rice Cooker Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
- 1 cup quinoa soaked in water 15 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly and drained
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Heat oil in a medium saute pan. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are softened and mushrooms are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add quinoa and turmeric and continue sauteing for 2 more minutes to toast quinoa. Transfer quinoa mixture to rice cooker. Add red bell pepper and broth. Cook on “white rice” setting.
Toss to loosen up quinoa.
Quinoa has a bitter coating called saponin that needs to be washed off before cooking. Briefly soaking and then rinsing quinoa before cooking removes this coating.
You can also find the recipe for this easy Quinoa Pilaf with Mushrooms on The Blender.
Ohhhhh! I have a giftcard I wanted to use to buy a rice cooker! pinning this!!!
I love my rice cooker, even more now that I started making other whole grains with it.
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
this look fabulous!!! I want that book
Alyssa @ Everyday Maven says
I have been on the fence about buying a rice cooker for a while but you make it look like such an essential kitchen appliance. I am slowly creeping towards my amazon cart lol!
I was thinking it was time to make some quinoa again, and here is your beautiful recipe! I love mushrooms, so this is definitely getting bookmarked. Happy New Year!
My family and I really loved this quinoa pilaf – it was nice and light, like couscous.
One of these days I may get a rice cooker – but I can do this without one. Love quinoa – have only been making it for about 3 years and it has won hearts and minds here. The pilaf makes it seem lighter than usual. Glad you were able to relax over the holidays. I love the days following the big blow-outs where we schedule little.
This pilaf can definitely be made stove-top. I’ve just been having some fun with my rice cooker. You are way ahead of me and I’m looking forward to trying more whole grains with my rice cooker. This pilaf is nice and light – my kids really thought it was couscous.
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
Since discovering the rice cooker method of cooking quinoa, I’ve never looked back. It’s foolproof, and because my rice cooker has a keep-warm feature, I can make it in advance and have it ready, without taking up room on the stovetop, when I need it. Your pilaf looks lovely, similar to some dishes I’ve made with mushrooms, and I’m glad to have your recipe to try.
Now that I’ve made quinoa in my rice cooker, I am a huge fan – so easy and I love the keep-warm feature, almost like a crockpot.
Cookin' Canuck says
Great post over on The Blender, Jeanette. While I cook quinoa often, I have never prepared it in my rice cooker. You have definitely inspired me to try this next time.
Thanks Dara – I was really impressed by how light and fluffy the quinoa came out in the rice cooker…will be making this again soon!
i love quinoa!!! i haven’t made it in a rice cooker yet, but i have a friend who mixes her brown rice with quinoa when she cooks it in the rice cooker. its definitely a hit or miss since not everyone likes the taste of it, but i think its an acquired taste~ i want to try adding tumeric to it!
I love the idea of mixing different grains together and cooking them in the rice cooker – will have to give that a try next!
…hmmmm another reason to get myself a Rice Cooker! 😀
Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet says
looks yummy Jeanette. Great recipe.
Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says
Happy New Year. This quinoa looks colorful and delicious.
Jersey Girl Cooks says
I will definitely be eating more healthy grains now that the holidays (and high carb feasts) are over. This is a great recipe for quinoa! Happy new year!
This looks delicious and I love quinoa. I even bought a big bag of it at Costco. Can’t wait to try this recipe!
I’ve seen those giant bags at Costco’s – that is a lot of quinoa!
Magic of Spice says
Loved the recipe…really looks wonderful 🙂
Happy New Year!
David Leite says
This looks absolutely delicious. I have a rice cooker that I never use. Perhaps I just found a reason to haul it out.
Thanks David – this is a keeper – I plan on making this many more times!
I love quinoa and this looks so yummy! I think I need a rice cooker…I have just about every other appliance I could think of…why not a rice cooker! Actually I bought one for my daughter last Christmas and she loves it. Happy New Year!
I should eat more quinoa! The pilaf looks really tasty.
If you don’t have a rice cooker and you like whole grains, consider buying a smaller, less expensive one. I made millet in my rice cooker tonight and it came out great. The rice cooker makes cooking whole grains hands-free.
Kim - Cook It Allergy Free says
Oh my! I never have used my rice cooker for quinoa! What is wrong with me?? LOL I am totally trying this this week. What a brilliant idea, Jeanette! And such a yummy recipe! Happy 2012! I think this is going to be a great one! ;D
This was my first time making quinoa in a rice cooker and it was so easy – no fuss, no worry, came out perfectly!
i actually was just thinking of cooking quinoa in my pressure cooker.. we have more pressure cookers than rice cookers.. i bet it will cook super quick and make life simpler! the pilaf looks gorgeous!
Would love to hear if you make quinoa in a pressure cooker.
This looks awesome Jeanette!!
Do you think I can use a microwave rice cooker for this recipe? For white rice, I just put in 1 part rice to 2 parts water and microwave for 20 minutes. Do you think I need to adjust it for quinoa?
I haven’t tried microwaving rice before, but I would think you could probably microwave quinoa the same way. Perhaps try cooking it for less than 20 minutes, checking it, and cooking more if it needs it. Would love to hear if you try this.